How to Cope with Stress

How to cope with stress
Teens often look for ways to cope with their negative feelings or physical symptoms of stress.  Learn the differences between positive and negative coping skills below.

Negative coping skills
These are short-term and provide instant gratification, but only temporary relief, and often have negative consequences.  They tend to ignore the real problem, and are a diversion instead of a solution.  Examples include:

  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Procrastination
  • Distraction – taking on additional projects and responsibilities
  • Social withdrawal
  • Over- or under-eating
  • Aggression toward others
  • Risk-taking behaviors

Positive coping skills
These are long-lasting and can lead to positive outcomes.  They may not provide instant relief, but address the problem and improve well-being.  Examples include:

  • Exercise
  • Healthy eating
  • Plenty of sleep
  • Venting to friends and/or family
  • Finding the cause of stress and planning solutions
  • Relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation

Below are some practical exercises to help you learn to cope with stress and set up your personal plan for dealing with stress:

Coping Skills Assessment

Personal Stress Plan


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